Lionel Messi rescued the most cynical match in recent history with two pieces of absolute magic. After 75 minutes of hacking, slashing, diving and crowding the ref by both sides, the score was still 0-0. Messi then scored two crucial away goals to give Barcelona a huge advantage in terms of away goals.
Lionel Messi's performance
Until he scored his first goal, this was a rather frustrating match for Lionel Messi. Real Madrid defended deep and did not give an inch, rendering Messi mostly helpless once he reached the final third. However, he then scored two brilliant goals, which proved to be crucial.
His first goal was a very well-timed run to meet Afellay's cross ahead of his marker. It was his second goal, though, which truly showed his worth as a player. From a seemingly harmless position on the halfway line, Messi took the ball from Barcelona midfielder Xavi and set off on an unstoppable run, leaving several Real Madrid players in his wake before finishing coolly past Real Madrid's Iker Casillas. The Real Madrid custodian was so stunned that he could only stand with outstretched arms as Messi ran past him to celebrate in front of the fans.
Cristiano Ronaldo's performance
Ronaldo endured a very frustrating night chasing down shadows as the Barcelona defenders passed the ball all around him. He was left as Real Madrid's lone striker up front, and the duty to press the Catalans thus fell squarely on his shoulders. Unable to get close to Barcelona's goal due to a lack of support, Ronaldo was relegated to a few scattered long range shots, which Victor Valdes dealt with without any trouble.
All in all, a very underwhelming night for the Portuguese, though to be fair, he was not helped by Real Madrid's extremely defensive tactics.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Cristiano Ronaldo: 5.5/10